Life with Your Form-Based Code
Congratulations! The shiny, new form-based code is finally adopted and it is now yours to administer “from this day forward, for better, for worse…until death do us part.” And now is when you learn that a long-term relationship with your new code takes more than a little time and effort! A regulation that made perfect sense to you while in the drafting process now is subject to four dueling interpretations by four different applicants. Elected officials who were so supportive about moving to form-based regulations suddenly want to know why the local car dealership, owned by a long-time civic leader, can’t rebuilt on their site “just like before.” And some of the new standards that were designed to improve certainty and ensure the creation of a better community fabric now seem constraining and rigid in practice. This session explores ways to ensure a long, healthy relationship with your zoning code, including: finding flexibility you didn’t know was there, determining when an interpretation or clarification should trigger a code amendment, supporting code administrators through focused training and continuing education, and persevering through the ups and downs of a new code learning curve.
You'll learn about:
How form-based regulations function in individual sections and across the code as a whole
How to troubleshoot form-based regulations in day-to-day use
How to help your staff and community embrace form-based regulations to make the most of a form-based code
The objective of this session is to take a deeper dive beyond the usual “why” and “how” to adopt a form-based code, and instead focus on what the day-to-day functioning of a form-based zoning code really looks and feels like. Topics will range from the macro-level of applying the intent of districts, standards, and design elements, to the micro-level of site plan review and coordination with other municipal code requirements. The session starts by working through, with the audience’s participation, the functional purpose of each section of a typical form-based zoning code to ensure code administrators understand how the different components of a form-based code work alone and in concert with each other. This exercise helps to discern a form-based code’s overall “philosophy,” and provides code administrators with the grounding to more easily apply and interpret the code’s regulations over time.
With a common understanding of how a form-based code should work, the session will explore a variety of situations where conflicts often arise during the development review process, and what practical methods may address and resolve them. The presentation then turns to how to introduce your form-based code to essential internal and external users, with a particular emphasis on training (for both staff and the development community), education of elected and appointed officials, and vigorous public/customer outreach and communication.
Finally, the session will wrap-up with a discussion of how to stay engaged when the full reality of implementing what can be a very radical change (from traditional code to form-based) sinks in. Discussion is propelled by the presenters’ real-life experiences and by audience participation and questions; throughout, presenters will share reality-tested advice on how to tackle the invariable and sometimes daunting challenges that come with implementing a new form-based code. Throughout the session, we will provide encouragement and suggestions for using the form-based code both functionally and creatively to allow communities to get the best results out of their new regulations.
, Lewis, Stroud & Deutsch, P.L.
, Boca Raton
, City& County of Denver
Invited SpeakerTina Axelrad is the Zoning Administrator for the City and County of Denver, Colorado, responsible for oversight of all zoning permitting functions in the city and a work program including business practice improvements, performance monitoring, continuing education and new staff training, and public communications. Previously, Tina was a Principal City Planner with Denver, where she successfully co-managed the Denver Zoning Code update and implementation project (adopted in June 2010), collaborated on all text amendments to the code, and led various plan implementation projects. Prior to her time at Denver, Tina was a principal with Clarion Associates, a national land use and planning consulting firm based in Denver, focusing on development code drafting, design standards and guidelines, redevelopment, comprehensive land use and growth management planning, open space/natural resources preservation, and demographic/economic analysis.
, SAFEbuilt Studio
Invited SpeakerElizabeth Garvin, Esq., AICP, is the Planning Director for SAFEbuilt Studio where she works in the Denver office. Ms. Garvin’s practice focuses on planning/land use law, regulatory drafting, and planning processes. She has prepared numerous zoning codes and subdivision regulations; created comprehensive and redevelopment plans; worked on financing special districts; drafted design standards; undertaken public participation processes; and assisted private clients. Elizabeth joined SAFEbuilt Studio from the Denver office of the law firm Spencer Fane and prior to that she was a senior associate with Clarion Associates. Some of her current and former clients include Denver, Colorado; King County, Washington; Branson, Missouri; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; St. Louis County, Missouri; Laramie, Wyoming; Omaha, Nebraska; and Wilmington/New Hanover County, North Carolina. Ms. Garvin writes the RLMUI legal column for Western Planner and is a frequent speaker on zoning topics, including a multi-year AICP workshop on drafting zoning regulations at the APA National Conference.